With a looming televised Scottish Cup tie against Clydebank, Elgin City were perhaps guilty of losing focus during their 2-0 League Two loss to Albion Rovers in Coatbridge.
The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw, thanks to some heroics from Elgin keeper Thomas McHale, but late goals from Albion’s Callum Wilson and Jordan Morton were ultimately the difference.
The Moray outfit are now only three points off the bottom of the League Two table with McHale insisting a sense of urgency is needed in their pursuit of consistent winning performances.
“We need to start upping our game in little bit now,” McHale said. “It’s come to the part of the season where we need to try to be turning these fixtures into wins. And trying to avoid things like that.
“We were at 0-0. A few chances given away. It comes to bite us. That’s the way this league is.
“We have to regroup now and go again next Monday.
“We have got a week and a bit to prepare for the Scottish Cup game and we know we have got to go down there and put in a performance to get us back on track. “
Elgin started brightly in Coatbridge as Tom Grivosti bundled the ball over the line after five minutes, but the defender was ruled to be offside and any attacking threat from City then petered out.
A succession of Albion chances for Kyle Doherty and Corey O’Donnell at the end of the first half found McHale to be in superb form, but the keeper’s luck ran out with 15 minutes remaining.
The Englishman tried to parry David Wilson’s effort from just inside the box, but the ball looped just under the bar to give Rovers the lead.
Five minutes later and the victory was sealed by a wonderful effort from Jordan Morton which would have been at home in the highest echelons of the game – the home player finding the top corner with a thunderous drive from 25 yards out.
Elgin will have to hope cup form contrasts with league form, as Clydebank are ebullient and challenging for the West of Scotland league title.
McHale insists the Gavin Price’s side won’t take their second round opponents lightly when they travel to Holm Park next week.
He said: “We know it is going to be a tough game. We’re not going to go there and underestimate them.
“They are going to be ready for it. It is their first time in the Scottish Cup in 10 years. They are going to be just as well prepared as we need to be.
“You know what happens in these cups, the big boys can get taken out. We don’t want to be one of those teams that should be going through.
“We are going to respect them as much as we can, as much as we have to. “